Topic 5- Reflection

This week I explored the notion of open access, allowing content to be viewed freely without subscription costs. When reflecting on the support of open access personally, I found that for students such as myself, the ability to easily access a plethora of research without payment is hugely beneficial to academic research. This theme was highlighted repeatedly in the blog posts of my peers also.

In my post I also highlighted that the reason that some content producers avoid open access is because they may perceive their work to be less credible under these terms. This was a point opposed by Rebecca in her blog, however, who suggested that open access posts may be viewed as highly respectable. When questioning Rebecca about the differences between our posts, she suggested that as open access becomes more widespread, the perception of pay wall credibility will decline and open access will flourish even more.

When reviewing Philips blog, he stated that some companies offer a voluntary payment service that allows content to be paid for at the user’s discretion. Initially this appeared a positive middle ground for the open access/ paywall debate, but I wondered if it was sustainable as it offered a choice for payment. Philip assured, me however, that voluntary services such as “patreon” are sustainable because content users will give generously to causes they are passionate about.

Finally, Cherie commented on my blog, suggesting my views on the use of “creative commons” as a flexible opportunity for content producers to reserve some content rights. When researching creative commons, I discovered it to be a reciprocally beneficial process to both content producer and viewer that expands the public domain while also allowing for the selectivity of rights for creators. This is a process I certainly feel will progress in the future and could resolve open access issues.

open access reflction

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Image reference: self-made using Piktochart 

Topic 5- Open access- The Advantages and Disadvantages for content producers

Open access refers to the ability to freely use and redistribute content that has been created by another person, without having any concerns over copyright restrictions. The digitisation of research materials has led to an improved ability to retrieve content efficiently (Wilinsky, 2006). Despite this renewed convenience, many published works are behind pay walls with expensive subscription prices. The high cost of academic work has seen journal prices outpace inflation by over 250% over the past 30 years (Shockley and Eisen, 2012).


The figure below demonstrates the 4r’s of freely access resources, suggesting the ways that the conent may be used.

free access four R's
Figure 1

According to Wiley et al (2012), There is a perception among some content creators that once a publication has been made freely available, the material loses some credibility, while publication charges will also have to be paid for content to be made available (Lepitak, 2013).Considering this, it is easy to understand why some authors are against open access content. However, According to the open access information source book, freely available content fundamentally acts as way to maintain a level of high quality learning while reducing the cost of education. This is extremely important in improving knowledge gaps between classes in the U.K., but may also improve education opportunities in developing countries.

open acces pros and cons
Figure 2



In the later stages of the Ted talk below, Jack Andraka notes the emergence of a “Knowledge class system” that permits only the financially elite to improve their educational desires while economically underprivileged groups must be deprived of knowledge, something considered as a basic human right. Therefore, He strongly advocates open access because not only does this create greater equality for publication access, but it ensures that the resources are relevant. In some cases, even if content can be afforded, often only the abstract can be reviewed before the purchase has been made. However, the abstract may not accurately reflect the rest of the material in the research, causing money to be wasted by some researchers (Open

From an individual perspective I strongly support the use of open access content because as a student I regularly recognize the frustrations associated with denial of access to research that may personally benefit the quality of my academic work. Additionally, with greater content access, the credibility of a publishers work is sustained through increased citations and an improved sharing of academic wealth.

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Wiley, D., Green, C., & Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically bringing down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free LearningCenter for American Progress.

Lepitak. S (2013). Should online content be free? Is anything really free? How should authors be rewarded for their work? Is traditional copyright legislation fit for purpose in the digital age?

Shockley. N and Eisen. J (2012) “Open access explained!” YouTube video

Forbes article (2013) Education finally ripe for radical innovation by social entrepreneurs.

Open Pros and cons of open access

Open access scholarly information sourcebook (2010) Benefits of Open Access for research dissemination

Willinsky, J. (2006). The access principle: The case for open access to research and grant. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Andreka J (2013). YouTube video, Paywalls vs. open access:


Image references:

Figure 1- self-made using piktcohart

Figure 2- self-made using piktcohart